Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Masked intruders

I was sitting on the front porch with my laptop just now, with Sophie on a blanket at my feet. The porch light was out. I heard a rustling in the flowers off the end of the porch. A fairly significant rustling, and I could see the foliage moving. A cat? A fox? And then the first tubby body appeared, and another and another.
I grabbed Sophie's collar just as she noticed them (sometimes it's good she's deaf now). The first one was already halfway up the steps (no doubt lured by a bone Sophie had brought up). Sophie whoooofed and they froze. I went "Psssssst!" and they started to beat a retreat. I hustled Sophie inside and grabbed the camera.

This is a first for me. I have never seen a raccoon in Denver before. Lots of foxes but never a raccoon. I know we have them – the neighbors lost a chicken to one a few months ago – but clearly they keep a low profile.

There's plenty for such scavengers to eat, what with all the alley Dumpsters easily accessible. I'm surprised there aren't more of them.

Clearly Mama Raccoon is doing her part to bump up the population. Six babies!
I chased them across the street (where I took these crummy but serviceable pictures) and down the block until they disappeared into a neighbor's yard. I hope they think twice about coming back.


  1. The pics give me the eeeeby jeeeeby's (sp?).

    I ran across them at night for the very first time during a camping trip. We got to camp late, started dinner and looked up in the tree above me with my headlight on. I saw 3 possums staring down at me with those shining eyes...ugh! Scared the shit out of me and I turned off my stove and ate granola for dinner. Hell no was I gonna eat under a star of raccoon eyes!

  2. It's so handy for a nocturnal animal to have little headlights for eyes!

    I have to say I like racoons a lot (early crush by way of Sterling North's book Rascal) but I'd still not want them on my front porch.

  3. Rascal is such a cute book. I just gave a copy to one of my students named Sterling. He like the idea that the author shared his first name.

  4. Raccoons are cute until they're up close and in your trash, possibly rabid.

    I love the shining eyes in the photos. Total lolcat potential.

  5. Well, now, I'm on Mama Racoon's side - she has a lot of babies to feed! Hope she found what she needed that night! But, you were wise to keep your dog away - raccoons can be fierce when defending their young.

  6. The little bastards! I don't see many raccoons here in Maryland, though I'm sure they're around. My problem woodland critters are usually of the 'possum and deer variety.

  7. As anyone who reads my blog knows, we have tons of 'em up in the North Bronx. They're kind of like furry cockroaches, but cute. Good thing our dog is half coonhound... before we got her they'd wander in the back door sometimes in search of cat food.

  8. Those things are crazy. They will go anywhere and everywher to get what they want. We had so many in northern california. One time I even found one inside munching on my dog's dogfood!!

  9. I've seen plenty of raccoons here. Mostly around apartment complexes and their dumpsters.

  10. I've only ever seen raccoons here once, a few years ago, when I caught 9 of them in and around the palm tree in my front yard, eating...whatever it is that palm trees grow. Two were up in the tree, throwing down the seeds(?) to the others.

  11. I agree, they're kind of cute, but definitely not something to tangle with! They were very blasé about the whole encounter.

    There was a raccoon snuffling around our campsite on Angel Island and it was a little freaky.

    I haven't read "Rascal." I'll have to look for it!

    I just hope they stay away from my vegetable garden. There's plenty of junk food in the Dumpster for them.